All of Latvia on alert for African swine fever

Take note – story published 9 years ago

Though the greatest danger of animals contracting swine fever is in Latgale, the disease threatens all of Latvia, warned Food and Veterinary Service director Maris Balodis on Tuesday morning’s LTV news program Panorama.

The PVD chief stressed the importance of signing up all animals with the state veterinary registry not just in Latgale, but throughout the whole national territory.

He added that the battle to stop the African strain of the swine fever could be “long and hard.” Spain fought the disease for 35 years, while Russia has been struggling to contain outbreaks since 2008.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet of Ministers approved €1,5m euros in emergency budget funding Tuesday to compensate pig farmers for losses they will surely suffer this year.

According to information released by the Agriculture Ministry, pig owners will get €115 euros for each breeding adult animal, €65 euros for each fattened pig and breeding gilt, and €25 euros per suckling piglet. The emergency funding package totals €1,502,450 euros.

Compensation monies are also to be paid out to pig raisers who have ensured proper biosecurity measures, but still suffer disruption to their trade due to the emergency restrictions requiring mandatory culls. The stringent measures are in place to stop the spread and prevent further outbreaks of the deadly swine disease that could potentially threaten the world’s pork industry.

The government’s order calls for all pig owners to put into place full biosecurity measures by July 22. Those who fail to comply by the deadline will face mandatory culls of their herds by August 31, subject to a notification requirement to the local veterinary health inspector.

Pig owners whose herds are kept inside the restricted quarantine and monitoring zones and who cannot put into place the proper biosecurity measures will be prohibited from keeping pigs in these pens for at least one year.

At this point African swine fever has been confirmed in 22 wild boar specimens and 5 domestic pigs since the first cases were reported June 27.

As of July 14 PVD inspectors have examined 3,776 homesteads, of which 564 are raising a total of 2,186 domestic pigs.

Emergency measures including a 40-kilometer-wide quarantine zone, restrictions on movement of animals and intensive inspections are in place until October 1.

While harmless to humans, African swine fever is deadly and highly contagious among pigs, posing a serious threat to the global pork industry

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